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A traveling exhibition about the sounds and songs of life

Wild Music in the News

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Darwin: It's not all sexual (selection)

March 4, 2014 - 11:00pm
(University of Maryland Baltimore County) Scientists have long considered bird song to be an exclusively male trait, resulting from sexual selection. Now an international team of researchers says that's not the whole story. In Nature Communications, they write that 71 percent of songbirds in their extensive global survey had female song, and trait mapping revealed a common ancestor of modern songbirds also had female song. This research opens the door to explore alternative processes in the evolution of bird song.

We’d love these new fair-trade sustainable condoms, if the marketing weren’t kinda sexist

March 4, 2014 - 3:58pm

Is there anything more fun than sexism in marketing? (See: Bic Pens for Her. And yes, everything short of toenail removal is more fun.) Its latest coup: tarnishing the enthusiasm we might have otherwise felt for Sustain Condoms. Created by the founder of Seventh Generation and his daughter (um, AWKWARD), the condoms are made from non-toxic, fair-trade rubber from an Indian plantation that pays workers a fair wage.

Sustain thinks fair-trade condoms will primarily appeal to us ladies with our squishy bunny hearts, rather than men, who hate sustainability and only buy brands that sound like monster trucks. (Trojan Magnum Destructo! OK, maybe Destructo would be a poor choice for a condom brand.) Explains Jeffrey Hollender:

Part of the challenge we are facing is the huge discomfort women feel buying condoms. If a man buys them, he’s having sex and he’s cool. Women have a negative attitude.

Right. Because a woman buying condoms is NOT having sex. She’s purchasing them to stitch into a wedding gown while crying softly and watching Say Yes to the Dress with her cat and a bottle of merlot. Yes, women get slut-shamed more than men, but we’re pretty sure almost EVERYbody feels self-conscious about buying condoms, not just women.

So yes, fair-trade condoms are cool. Less cool is assuming dudes don’t care how their sausage wrappers get made. If Sustain really wants to appeal to women, maybe they should brand vasectomies.

Filed under: Living

What bat brains might tell us about human brains

March 4, 2014 - 3:20pm
Could a new finding in bats help unlock a mystery about the human brain? Likely so, say researchers who have shown that a small region within the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure in the brains of all mammals, is responsible for producing emotional calls and sounds. They say this discovery might be key to locating a similar center in human brains.

Futuristic Moon Elevator Idea Takes Aim at Lunar Lifts

March 4, 2014 - 1:42pm
An elevator to the moon might not be as crazy as it sounds, according to one company. A moon-based elevator to space could radically reduce the costs and improve the reliability of placing equipment on the lunar surface.

Greater music dynamics in shoebox-shaped concert halls

March 4, 2014 - 8:00am
Aalto University researchers have found that music is perceived to have greater dynamic range in rectangular, shoebox shaped concert halls than in other types of halls.

Species matters in a noisy world

March 4, 2014 - 5:53am
Fish exposed to increased noise levels consume less food and show more stress-related behaviour, according to new research from the University of Bristol and the University of Exeter. However, the way fish decreased their food intake differed between the two British species tested.

Greater music dynamics in shoebox-shaped concert halls

March 3, 2014 - 1:34pm
Researchers in Finland have found that music is perceived to have greater dynamic range in rectangular, shoebox shaped concert halls than in other types of halls.

Sound Machines Could Be Hurting Baby's Ears

March 3, 2014 - 6:24am
Parents may use noise machines to help babies sleep, but the sound may be loud enough to harm a little one's hearing, researchers reported today (March 3).

Google urges court to restore YouTube anti-Islam film

March 1, 2014 - 1:09am
Google on Friday urged a US appeals court to let it repost an anti-Islamic movie on YouTube, pending a re-hearing of the copyright case that got it removed.

NASA satellite sees great freeze over Great Lakes

February 28, 2014 - 3:40pm
At night, as cold settles in, lake ice creaks and groans. It's been excessively cold, and I camped exposed on the snow-swept surface. Other than the lack of vegetation and the sounds at night, you'd never know you were on a lake. It feels like an empty plain. In some places, you see pressure ridges where ice has pushed into itself, sticking up like clear blue stegosaurus plates.—Craig Childs

Emergency alert in the cell: Scientists identify new mechanisms in the cellular stress response

February 28, 2014 - 11:30am
When an organism is exposed to life-threatening conditions, it sounds the alarm and a cellular emergency program, the heat shock response, is initiated. However, the name "heat shock response" is misleading. In the beginning of the 1960s, this form of stress response was first observed. Scientists exposed fruit flies to high temperatures and discovered a complex emergency program designated to save single cells and thus the organism itself. Today researchers know that this program is also triggered by other dangers such as radiation or toxic substances. The terminology, however, is still in use.

Mars 2021 Human Fly-by - Public or Private $$? Congress Questions | Video

February 28, 2014 - 9:25am
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) questions a panel of space and aerospace professionals about the feasibility of the Mars mission at a hearing on Feb. 27th, 2014. Also, why the mission called 'Inspiration Mars' is now looking for public funding.

Battery-free technology brings gesture recognition to all devices

February 27, 2014 - 12:00pm
Mute the song playing on your smartphone in your pocket by flicking your index finger in the air, or pause your "This American Life" podcast with a small wave of the hand. This kind of gesture control for electronics could soon become an alternative to touchscreens and sensing technologies that consume a lot of power and only work when users can see their smartphones and tablets.

SciFri: Your Brain on Jazz

February 27, 2014 - 12:00pm
Researcher and musician Charles Limb created an fMRI-safe keyboard to study the effects of jazz on the brain.

Digital ears in the rainforest: Estimating dynamics of animal populations by using sound recordings and computing

February 27, 2014 - 8:14am
A Finnish-Brazilian project is constructing a system that could estimate the dynamics of animal populations by using sound recordings, statistics and scientific computing. The canopy in a Brazilian rainforest is bustling with life, but nothing is visible from the ground level. The digital recorders attached to the trees, however, are picking up the noises of birds.

New discovery paves the way for medicine for people with hearing disabilities

February 26, 2014 - 11:00pm
(Karolinska Institutet) Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified a biological circadian clock in the hearing organ, the cochlea. This circadian clock controls how well hearing damage may heal and opens up a new way of treating people with hearing disabilities.

Spotted seal study reveals sensitive hearing in air and water

February 26, 2014 - 5:10pm
Two spotted seals orphaned as pups in the Arctic are now thriving at UC Santa Cruz's Long Marine Laboratory, giving scientists a rare opportunity to learn about how these seals perceive their environment. In a comprehensive study of the hearing abilities of spotted seals, UCSC researchers found that the seals have remarkably sensitive hearing in both air and water.

Gadget Watch: Noise reduction in new Sony phone

February 26, 2014 - 11:00am
(AP)—I typically have headphones on when I'm home in New York, whether it's during a jog or a commute. I often crank the volume up, at the risk of hearing loss, so that I could hear my favorite podcasts over loud subways and honking cars.

Digital music to feel impact of Big Data

February 26, 2014 - 9:40am
A new project that will use large music collections – so called Big Data – to support music research has been launched by Queen Mary University of London, City University London, University College London and the British Library.

Humans have a poor memory for sound

February 25, 2014 - 11:00pm
(University of Iowa) According to a new study from researchers at the University of Iowa, our memory for sounds is significantly worse than our memory for visual or tactile things. Results are published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.